Priest demands apology from archbishop for defamatory comments - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Priest demands apology from archbishop for defamatory comments

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - The rift continues between Father Paul Gofigan and Archbishop Anthony Apuron. In a letter Father Gofigan demands a written apology and retraction of defamatory comments allegedly made by Archbishop Apuron to about 30 clergy while on a retreat to the Philippines.

Father Gofigan gave the archbishop until noon today to issue an apology.

It was one month ago Father Paul Gofigan wrote a letter to Archbishop Anthony Apuron demanding that he retract alleged defamatory comments.

The letter alleges the archbishop made insinuations that Father Paul Gofigan was carrying out an intimate relationship with a married man. Although Gofigan has not been available for comment, Tim Rohr creator of the Jungle Watch Blog was privvy to a copy of Gofigans's letter and posted it on his website.  "Word got out you know in front of thirty people I suppose somebody talked to somebody and it got back to Father Paul, Father Paul took issue and last December 6 sent a letter to the archbishop asking him to send a letter to the clergy to set the record straight.

"Made some heavy references that it could be a sexual relationship using the words such as being intimate and also alleging that he had built a staircase to his upstairs room that the man the man would bring alcohol and booze," he said.

Father Gofigan in his letter to the archbishop defended himself and the man he is alleged to have relations with. Gofigan said the staircase was actually built well before he even  moved into his home. He  also admitted that beer was one of his favorite drinks and on occasion the man in question along with other parishioners of the church would donate alcohol along with other food and supplies. Father Gofigan added that parishioners would often visit to socialize, hear confessions and seek counsel.  Father Gofigan further demanded that the archbishop retract in writing the "slanderous and defamatory statements"

"As of yesterday because the archbishop did not respond to Father Paul did not talk to him ignored the request Father Paul sent a letter to the archbishop," said Rohr.

In a second letter dated January 13 Father Gofigan gave the archbishop until noon today to issue the retraction and set the record straight but according to Rohr that request was also ignored.

KUAM attempted to get comment from the archbishop, however Father Adrian Kristobal spoke on his behalf.  "The conversations that Father Gofigan did write about would be considered internal and private matters concern the case of clergy discipline and basically where we stand as the archdioceses is that they don't believe that they warrant any further public comment," he said.

According to Father Cristobal the issues raised by Father Gofigan will continue to be handled through the church's internal processes. As for Father Gofigan he states that he will take action including legal action to salvage his name. He prays however it doesn't have to come to this.

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